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Sacrifice: The Good, The Bad, The Ordinary and the Extraordinary

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

On this Veteran’s Day weekend there has been a lot of talk about sacrifice. Sacrifices come in all forms, shapes, and sizes. For all of the service people out there that have served or are currently serving, I can’t think of a more selfless or more impactful sacrifice than putting yourself in harm's way for those you love or for those you will never meet. Thank you doesn’t seem nearly enough to repay that gift but it’s what most of us have to give and we hope you accept our humble offering.


sac·ri·fice


/ˈsakrəˌfīs/


Definition: “An act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.”


That’s a powerful definition.


In our daily lives we experience times where sacrifice is necessary. Because it involves giving up something for someone or something else more important and worthy than us, we should all be very mindful and careful of the sacrifices we make and why we make them.


Some are good and add great value to our lives, although they might actually be considered difficult to make. Some sacrifices are not good, and the final result truly does not live up to the effort made. This is where it gets very important to know which sacrifices enrich and complete you and those that reduce or delete you.


Sacrifices also say a lot about our values and principles and can guide us to whether we make sacrifices at all. Will you sacrifice evenings out, new clothes, and vacations to pay for that college tuition? Will you take a step back at work to make sure that another team member has their time to shine? Or will you work all night so that the rent gets paid when your roommate refuses to get a job? Or will you not pursue a specific goal because it makes your partner or spouse feel insecure? These types of decisions will be driven by your inner compass based on what you know to be right or wrong.


The Good Sacrifices will…

  • Improve your quality life, your family, and your community.

  • Provide great opportunities and growth through achievement.

  • Keep you motivated and willing to continue to help others.


The Bad Sacrifices …

  • Lead to regret about lost time, lost connections, lost self-identity.

  • Deplete your personal energies or finances unnecessarily.

  • Negatively impact your health or relationships.


The Ordinary (but important) Sacrifices include……

  • Those we make for our families within reason; taking care of our loved ones and ensuring everyday needs are met.

  • Being a good friend and support to others when needed.

  • Contributing to a thriving society and taking seriously the responsibility of being a good, global human citizen.


The Extraordinary Sacrifices…

  • Give life, save lives, and provide hope to others through selfless deeds.


We are all sacrificing something in our lives to drive an outcome. If it aligns with your values, goals, principles and makes you feel good, you’re headed in the right direction. Look for clues if it’s not.


For example, you’re a parent that volunteers to coach your child’s baseball team. Maybe you love baseball and that’s why you do it, regardless of whether your child plays or not. But if you’re only doing it because you want your child to play baseball and it cuts into your work time, the scheduling stresses you out and your child would rather play tennis, that sacrifice is not serving you, your child or the kids that see you stressed and struggling with disappointment over your child’s less than enthusiastic experience. Move on and let another volunteer who is better aligned with this mission take over.


In keeping with the example above, parenting and caregiving have their own special sacrifices but even those should be managed. There are many benefits to nurturing children and supporting those who need your assistance. However, you cannot be all things, to all people, all the time and being the parent or caregiver that sacrifices to the point of exhaustion is doing more harm than good. When you are depleted, the level of attention, patience and care you can reasonably provide reduces dramatically and that sacrifice is unbalanced and unhealthy. There’s a lot of truth to those flight attendant instructions to put your own air mask on first and then assist those around you.


I had dinner with a friend on Thursday and he immediately commented that I looked happy. I was a bit taken aback because I thought I always looked at least pleasant at a minimum! LOL But he reminded me that about two years ago, we’d had dinner and I was in a bad place. I was overwhelmed trying to be all things to all people, all the time, not feeling supported, protected, motivated and questioning if drudgery and mediocrity was where I was meant to me. He said he was really worried about me. You know what, he was right, and he should have been.


A few short months after that dinner, I drew a line in the sand and started to make changes in my life. One of the most important changes was to pull back on the sacrifices I was making that were actually depleting me and letting go of the guilt around them that had me running from “pillar to post” as my grandmother used to say. That was huge. Not only do we need to be mindful of the sacrifices we make, don’t let guilt, or undo external pressure obligate you to make sacrifices that are not in your best interests either.


There’s no doubt that without sacrifice, we would not be living in a world with the great technology, information, and advancements we enjoy daily. This is the result of the innovators, leaders, teachers, and everyday people that stay curious, keep learning, and continue to move us forward. They have all given something up to support others and work toward something important and worthy.


Balance your sacrifices to ensure they meet your needs as well as the needs of others. There’s a lot of truth to the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”


Keep that in mind as we head into the holiday season as well. Use your time and sacrifices wisely. Don’t overextend yourself and distract from the joy you could experience by being focused and present for those you love and need you most.


Sacrifice too much and feeling depleted? Let’s talk about ways to get you realigned to your inner purpose.



Take care and be well,

Courtney



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